The Murder of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez 05/24/19 11:52AM
19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, who was nine months pregnant, was strangled and her child cut out of her womb. Three people are charged in her death.
Now, a group os speaking out saying they cracked the case, alone.
Pastors Emma Lozano and Jacobita Cortes spearheaded the search for Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, alongside student pastor Cecila Garcia.
They call themselves, Las Comadres, a group of female friends and they were the first to offer the family help.
"We have to make this as public as possible and as many eyes in the community,” says Lozano.
These women knew something was out of character for Marlen.
“She she had a routine,” says Garcia. "She picked up her baby, came home and she was not answering her calls.”
Plus, there were no signs of trouble at home. “We’re women we know if we’re going to leave, we’re going to pack,” says Lozano. “Somebody took her against her will.”
On April 24th, Lozano accompanied the Ochoa Uriostegui family, who only speaks Spanish to the police department, to report Marlen missing.
She says, they felt like they weren’t treated fairly.
“I will never forget what mom, dad and husband said, I know we’re just latinos, but we’re human beings too,” says Lozano. “They’ve already accepted that we’re inferior to the rest of them and I don’t accept that.”
Days went by with no sign of Marlen and no word from Police. As hours turned into weeks, the search parties continued.
“We were like, ‘The cops are not helping us, what are we going to do as mothers, we’re going to look for her,’” says Garcia.
At first, the Latino community held back from giving them any tips. “The Latino community has been frightened to work and they have no confidence in the authorities,” says Lozano.
“We told CPD them to enter that house way before they did and they said they were waiting on warrants,” says Cortes.
Cortes is talking about the house on West 77th Place. That’s where Clarisa Figueroa lived with her boyfriend Peter Bobak and her daughter Desiree. Lozano says neighbors knew Marlen’s car on the block.
“We solved the whole crime before the police even went in there,” says Lozano.
After building trust with the community, Las Comadres got a tip. They received screenshots of the conversations Marlen had with Clarisa on the Facebook group ‘Help a Sister Out’, talking about meeting up the day she went missing.
“We’re giving them the screen shots and we’re saying we can’t get that information until we get court orders, those have to be expedited,” says Garcia.
Marlen and Clarisa weren’t strangers. Court documents show the two met up once before, on April 1st, to exchange baby items.
“This is complicated intelligence in order to get someone to trust you,” says Lozano.
"I believe in my heart that if it was someone who was white, with blue eyes, they would have found her, but because we’re women of color they ignored us,” says Garcia.